Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) are yet to reach an agreement on their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which expires at the end of April. Failure to reach common ground by then will leave most of South Africa’s international and franchise cricketers – apart from those on two-year deals – out of contract, a situation which has left SACA “extremely concerned,” according to their CEO Tony Irish.
ESPNcricinfo understands discussions have not been entered into in earnest, though SACA has prepared its position and will ask for status quo to remain. SACA is hopeful the terms of the MoU will stay the same as they have been for the last four years, which includes a revenue-sharing model for the players that CSA executives had initially indicated they would move away from.
In December last year, acting CEO Thabang Moroe and president Chris Nenzani had said the model would be up for review, but by March, they recommitted to revenue-share. At the March briefing, Nenzani also said CSA was “ready to commence negotiations” with SACA in advance of the MoU expiring. However, there are now only nine working days until April 30 – April 27 is a public holiday in South Africa – and fears that the parties are running out of time are mounting.
One source told ESPNcricinfo that unless an agreement is reached by this Friday, April 20, the chances of completing the negotiations before the MoU expires are slim. CSA appears to agree with the timeline, but could not put a firm date on when the new MoU will be concluded. “If we can possibly seal the MoU in a week, then we will strive for such but that all depends on the negotiations,” Moroe told ESPNcricinfo.
The SACA negotiations are not the only thing taking up Moroe’s time. CSA has been trying to finalise an FTP schedule for 2019 to 2023 and the board is yet to confirm all their fixtures with other member countries; but most pressingly, a decision on whether the Global T20, South Africa’s proposed franchise T20 tournament, will go ahead is also pending. CSA initially had a deadline of March 31 to make a call but now aims to make an announcement by the end of May.
“The board gave the management the support of a committee, to which the management would report,” Moroe said. “The feedback given to the committee has encouraged them to allow the management to continue with the negotiations and the planning of the league.”
Key questions include whether the tournament will be privately owned – and whether the existing franchise owners will continue to be involved – how many teams will be included in the league, and whether CSA can secure a broadcaster and sufficient sponsorship to make the event financially viable.
Last year, in the absence of a broadcast and sponsorship deal, CSA postponed the inaugural edition of the competition after forecasting losses of USD 25 million, and Moroe indicated they could wait another year, if needed.
“If the need to postpone to next year arises, all parties involved will communicate as such and further questions can be asked,” he said.